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Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity)

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Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Torture and the Twilight of Empire looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a close examination of the French army's coercive tactics during the Algerian war from 1954 to 1962. By tracing the psychological, cultural, and political meanings of torture at the end of the French empire, Marnia Lazreg also sheds new light on the United States and its recourse to torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This book is nothing less than an anatomy of torture--its methods, justifications, functions, and consequences. Drawing extensively from archives, confessions by former torturers, interviews with former soldiers, and war diaries, as well as writings by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and others, Lazreg argues that occupying nations justify their systematic use of torture as a regrettable but necessary means of saving Western civilization from those who challenge their rule. She shows how torture was central to guerre révolutionnaire, a French theory of modern warfare that called for total war against the subject population and which informed a pacification strategy founded on brutal psychological techniques borrowed from totalitarian movements. Lazreg seeks to understand torture's impact on the Algerian population--especially women--and also on the French troops who became their torturers. She explores the roles Christianity and Islam played in rationalizing these acts, and the ways in which torture became not only routine but even acceptable.

Written by a preeminent historical sociologist, Torture and the Twilight of Empire holds particularly disturbing lessons for us today as we carry out the War on Terror.

Synopsis:

"This book interprets torture not as an incidental if frequent characteristic of neocolonial conflict, but as one of its major elements. Using the Algerian war as a case study, Lazreg argues that to the French forces the psychological and political significance of their policy of torture was far greater than its operational significance. Her work is certainly pertinent to the present."--Peter Paret, Institute for Advanced Study

Synopsis:

Torture and the Twilight of Empire looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a close examination of the French army's coercive tactics during the Algerian war from 1954 to 1962. By tracing the psychological, cultural, and political meanings of torture at the end of the French empire, Marnia Lazreg also sheds new light on the United States and its recourse to torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This book is nothing less than an anatomy of torture--its methods, justifications, functions, and consequences. Drawing extensively from archives, confessions by former torturers, interviews with former soldiers, and war diaries, as well as writings by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and others, Lazreg argues that occupying nations justify their systematic use of torture as a regrettable but necessary means of saving Western civilization from those who challenge their rule. She shows how torture was central to guerre révolutionnaire, a French theory of modern warfare that called for total war against the subject population and which informed a pacification strategy founded on brutal psychological techniques borrowed from totalitarian movements. Lazreg seeks to understand torture's impact on the Algerian population--especially women--and also on the French troops who became their torturers. She explores the roles Christianity and Islam played in rationalizing these acts, and the ways in which torture became not only routine but even acceptable.

Written by a preeminent historical sociologist, Torture and the Twilight of Empire holds particularly disturbing lessons for us today as we carry out the War on Terror.

About the Author

Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her books include "The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question".

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xi

Introduction 1

Part I: Imperial Politics and Torture

Chapter 1: Revolutionary-War Theory 15

Chapter 2: Militarization of the Colonial State 34

Chapter 3: Psychological Action 61

Chapter 4: Models of Pacification: From Nietzsche to Sun Tzu 87

Part II: Ethnography of Torture

Chapter 5: Doing Torture 111

Chapter 6: Women: Between Torture and Military Feminism 145

Part III: Ideology of Torture

Chapter 7: Conscience, Imperial Identity, and Torture 173

Chapter 8: The Christian Church and Antisubversive War 191

Chapter 9: Fanon, Sartre, and Camus 213

Part IV: Reflections on Torture

Chapter 10: Moralizing Torture 237

Chapter 11: Repetitions: From Algiers to Baghdad 253

Notes 271

Glossary 309

References and Selected Bibliography 311

Index 323

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691131351
Author:
Lazreg, Marnia
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
History
Subject:
Demography
Subject:
Military - Other
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
Subject:
Africa, north
Subject:
France
Subject:
European History
Subject:
Sociology
Subject:
Middle Eastern Studies
Subject:
Torture
Subject:
Iraq War, 2003- - Atrocities
Subject:
Politics-Human Rights
Copyright:
Series:
Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity
Publication Date:
November 2007
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
6 halftones.
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Africa » Algeria
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » Strategy Tactics and Deception
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity) Used Hardcover
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Product details 360 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691131351 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This book interprets torture not as an incidental if frequent characteristic of neocolonial conflict, but as one of its major elements. Using the Algerian war as a case study, Lazreg argues that to the French forces the psychological and political significance of their policy of torture was far greater than its operational significance. Her work is certainly pertinent to the present."--Peter Paret, Institute for Advanced Study
"Synopsis" by , Torture and the Twilight of Empire looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a close examination of the French army's coercive tactics during the Algerian war from 1954 to 1962. By tracing the psychological, cultural, and political meanings of torture at the end of the French empire, Marnia Lazreg also sheds new light on the United States and its recourse to torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This book is nothing less than an anatomy of torture--its methods, justifications, functions, and consequences. Drawing extensively from archives, confessions by former torturers, interviews with former soldiers, and war diaries, as well as writings by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and others, Lazreg argues that occupying nations justify their systematic use of torture as a regrettable but necessary means of saving Western civilization from those who challenge their rule. She shows how torture was central to guerre révolutionnaire, a French theory of modern warfare that called for total war against the subject population and which informed a pacification strategy founded on brutal psychological techniques borrowed from totalitarian movements. Lazreg seeks to understand torture's impact on the Algerian population--especially women--and also on the French troops who became their torturers. She explores the roles Christianity and Islam played in rationalizing these acts, and the ways in which torture became not only routine but even acceptable.

Written by a preeminent historical sociologist, Torture and the Twilight of Empire holds particularly disturbing lessons for us today as we carry out the War on Terror.

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